If you are like a lot of people, your rain gutters aren’t something you often worry about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is very simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you realize just how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most homes in Cleveland. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to provide a route of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof. When they’re in good condition, your gutters will route runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaks, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When they are damaged, it can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to repair to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a pretty good indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you notice a gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you should hire a gutter specialist for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the water runoff away from your home the way they are supposed to. Pooling water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas around your home constantly wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the exterior of your home. Mold and mildew mean there is a lot of moisture in that area – a possible problem with the rain gutters could be the cause. Remember that mold and mildew are likely to grow on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it might be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a scenario where the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Cleveland would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll have to wait until it’s raining to discover this type of gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned out. In either case, you want to have it looked at ASAP.
Based on the construction of your home’s basement, your leak could be due to any number of things. The pooling problem we discussed before could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so important to keep your gutters in good shape!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this water flow to help it submerge into the ground. But, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This pooling rain water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed building materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first sign that there is a lot of moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You will usually see water marks under the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually an indication that rain water is pouring down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is by far the easiest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they have damage. Following a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your home to assess any possible damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to any routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few simple tips Clean Cleveland Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once a year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. As with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the less issues you’ll experience with them.
The recommended time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are many local gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to deal with the mess or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the issues we discussed above.
We’d suggest that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to be sure that your gutters are functioning correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing a problem before it becomes too bad can save you a lot of time and money. A small crack, for example, can be sealed, or the section of gutter with the crack can be replaced very affordably.
However, if you let the issue go on for too long, you might end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.